Friday, March 28, 2014

Saturday, March 15, 2014

All about the flow

Today I spent some time on a stream that is typically ‘low and clear’. Needless to say, I don’t often do well here. Today was different, the water was up and it was a bit dirty. The run-glide-run sequences were replaced with one continuous riffle that seemed to go on for miles. I fished it all, casting to virtually every foot along the bank, stripping in slowly and letting my fly dangle in the current.  I did good. Fish were everywhere and it seemed like they were happy to be out of their typical pools, like chickens let out of their henhouse. 

 I sat down along the river. I let the sun warm my face. I closed my eyes and listed to the sound of the riffle. I let my mind wander to a time when the base flow of this stream, and many streams like it, was higher. Before agriculture, before drainage tile, water used to filter through the earth to be delivered to streams later, perhaps during the late summer, when trout need it the most. What was this river like back then? Was it one long riffle like it happens to be today? Was it full of fish, big fish? Then I started fishing again.

A brown  trout with dirty mop.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Darters are abundant in the trout streams and warm waters I fish. When I find a good bugger hatch I like a barred streamer. The Dirty Mop fits the bill. Iowa reports 16 species of darters. This Spring, be sure to tie on a rusty orange/brown bugger to emulate the spawning darter.

Iowa Darter - USGS info - good stuff

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sculpin Collage

A result of the polar vortex and a few cups of coffee. The combination messes with your brain. Come on Spring!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Winter Trout

Saturday, December 28, 2013. Driving in the dark with Bill Callahan in the player. Perfect coffee sip tunes -- "Well the only words I said today are beer and thank you" -Callahan. The car says 4 degrees now, but by 1:00 it's a pleasant 38 in the Driftless. An anomaly to the trending weather pattern. That was only a week ago and it feels like long ago... I guess it was last year.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Swinging for Trout

Winter conjures contemplation. I’ve been reflecting on how my small stream fishing style has evolved. A couple years ago most of my casts involved tossing the fly upstream and drifting or slow strip retrieving. The last couple years I’ve been tossing downstream and swinging/stripping against the current. While I still deploy the upstream cast, the ratio flipped. Why? Because the tug on a tight line swing is awesome. I think Nate would agree that fishing one Spring with Tim Pearson on some small WI streams helped influence our deployment of the downstream cast. I once saw Tim cast upstream but it turned out he was just releasing a downstream snag. 

Here are a couple nice Fall fish caught swinging on Driftless streams. Also featuring stream side lunch of soup, burgers, beer (whiskey gone by then). 

scar face
ended the season with a fat 20". my biggest trout of the year.
shelter from the strong wind

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Photos from a great steelhead trip with Dan. Not sure much else needs to be stated. Enjoy..

Thursday, November 21, 2013


I’m quick to throw aesthetics out the window if it will save me a buck. Here are a couple hacks you may get a kick out of.

Native has a bunch of nice accessories for your watercraft. For $89 bucks you can buy the factory seat riser for the Ultimate Series kayaks. Or use some 1" foam and duct tape to build your own stack on the cheap.

This may look like a top of the line rod holder. Don't be fooled, it's DIY.

DIY Finger Sleeves. I used an old pair of compression shorts. These things have worked great.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Like an old friend you haven't seen in a while, there is a driftless stream that will be there. It will have changed a little, but its character will be the same. It will be happy to see you and you will be happy to see it. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

keeping cool

September is right around the corner. The nights will eventually cool down into the 50's and 40's. That's when the trout of the driftless will begin to behave differently. They will move from the bottom of the big pool. They will chase down a streamer. Until then, it's smallmouths and keeping cool.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August Smallies

Saturday mornings in August. Finding my window of opportunity between the weekend family plans.
Gotta reach those rocks somehow. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Float with the boys

Like father, like son facial expressions. 
a monster smallmouth for this creek
A fun morning on the creek with the boys.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Grass Carp on Hoppers

The green hopper strikes again. Refusal, rejection, disgust, and finally fooled. Presentation of the fly is important. But in the end it's up to the fish. You can do everything right and it still comes down to the fish deciding to eat. I guess that's how I feel after repeated strikeouts and finally fooling another grassie. I hooked this fish from the top of the pond bridge. He was sitting motionless just under the surface with head angled up -- a common position to find grass carp. I placed a green hopper a foot in front of him. He startled back initially but then slowly rose to eat. Grassies have a tendency to nibble the fly and from my high bridge vantage point I could see when the hopper was ready to set (nibble, nibble, gulp, set!). The hardest fish to fool are often the most rewarding. If I could catch a grassie every trip to the pond the reward wouldn't be as sweet. Big carp on hoppers, does it get any better?

The youngsters enjoyed the show. After helping me snap the pictures they were no longer thinking of bluegill and bullheads :-)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bucketmouth Streamers

A couple of the streamers I've been tossing and a marker board illustration. June has been a month of fishing backyard bass.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pond Bucket Mouth

I was recently reminded how fun it is to stand on the front of a flat bottom and toss for bass. Particularly when you're the one doing the fishing and your pal is doing the boating -- thanks Andy! 
hooked a nice 20"er